Manila– “In the midst of a worsening climate crisis, it is vital to restate the reminder — winning slowly is losing, standing still is moving backwards. As we near the 26th round of climate treaty negotiations in Glasgow in November, world leaders need reminding as well that we expect action on mitigation, adaptation, finance, loss and damage, and means of implementation together. Drop one item from these five points and we court failure, which is unacceptable.”
This was the declaration today by Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda, Climate Vulnerable Forum Ambassador for Parliaments, as she urged legislators among developing countries to support a successful outcome of COP26, or the 26th United Nations climate summit. Legarda was a three-term senator of the Philippines, heading the Philippine Senate Committees on Finance, Foreign Relations, and Climate Change.
Legarda said “Glasgow must result in a climate emergency pact, headlined by an actual plan to deliver US$500 billion over the next five years from 2020, and from 2025 onwards, scale up from a floor of US$100 billion. Anything less and the COP26 leadership will be inviting the toxic politics that have plagued the negotiations during the Kyoto Protocol period.”
Legarda issued the call as she lauded the recently concluded Vulnerable 20 Group of Finance Ministers Finance Summit last July 8, which was attended by five heads of state, over 30 finance ministers and officials, including UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, 8th Secretary-General of the United Nations and Chair of the Board of the Global Center on Adaptation Ban Ki-moon, and the heads of the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the European Investment Bank.
Legarda said vulnerable countries are leading the way by advancing their own instruments such as the V20’s Accelerated Finance Mechanism for Maximal Resilience and 100% Renewable Energy or AFM, which is designed to bring down the cost of capital that enables more rapid economy-wide transformation starting in the power sector.
Legarda expressed strong support for the “Solidarity Package: Delivering the Paris Agreement” report to be released on Wednesday by global think tanks from Africa, Asia, and Latin America calling for the rapid implementation of Paris through a Five-Point Plan that prioritizes higher ambition in cutting emissions, a Delivery Plan to deliver US$500 billion over five years, the prioritization of adaptation action, establishing loss and damage on the agenda of COP26, and operationalizing the carbon markets in order to generate proceeds for what she called “the great and growing need for adaptation action.”
According to the report, the Glasgow conference in November presents “a unique opportunity to enact an effective response to climate change. Unprecedented demand for action from the world’s citizens, the growing threat from climate change impacts, the changing economics of clean energy, recent political developments in key countries and the need to rebuild from the COVID-19 pandemic combine to make this a time of both maximum need and maximum opportunity.” The report, organized by the likes of Nairobi-based PowerShift Africa and the Philippine-based Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities, states that, “COP26 must above all be a summit of delivery – the point at which governments that signed the Paris Agreement six years ago are due to deliver on promises made across all elements of a fair, equitable and robust response to climate change.” The report acknowledges that past inaction means “we need to adapt to impacts wherever possible – and when it is no longer possible, the societies damaged by those impacts need, deserve and have been promised support. None of this is possible without finance.”
Legarda echoed the paper’s demands, saying “solidarity, fairness and prosperity need to guide us through this difficult moment. Governments need to deliver on their promises, showing solidarity with the less prosperous, to reach an outcome for COP26 that is fair and robust. And they need to deliver now.”
According to Legarda, the “report reflects the demands vulnerable countries have long expected. The emergency setting we’re in requires bold measures, real leadership, which this report shows with great clarity. Don’t just read it, take action, echo the calls and make yourself heard. Vulnerable countries are not asking only for solidarity. We expect to achieve prosperity despite the climate crisis. This report shows how we can do more than just survive. It offers ways in which we can thrive, if we locate climate justice at the center of our agenda.”
William S. Ruto, Deputy President of Kenya, also endorsed the report, saying the UN Climate Change Summit “should address the needs of the vulnerable and poor people of the world whose struggle everyday is made ever so difficult by worsening climate change impacts. The Solidarity Package seeks to address these issues.”
Ambassador Seyni Nafo, spokesperson for the Africa Group of Nations at COP26, also said “All we are doing is asking richer nations to fulfil their promises. The promises made by developed countries in Copenhagen in 2009 and again in the Paris Agreement are unequivocal and must be delivered.”
Sonam P. Wangdi of Bhutan, who is the Chair of the Least Developed Countries Group at COP26, said “We vulnerable countries are not asking for much. Just that richer countries, who have caused this problem, take responsibility by cutting their emissions and keeping their promise to help those their emissions have harmed. COP26 needs to be a summit where we see action not words. We have enough plans: what we need is for major economies to start delivering on their promises. Our economies are suffering in the face of increased climate impacts and budgetary strains. Either we invest our way out of this mess or we face a brutal decade of loss and damage.”